This shit is hard

This shit is hard

I may have alluded to this briefly in previous blogs but fuck me, this parenting gig is hard work. There are so many, and I mean SO SO many amazing beautiful great incredible wonderous things about being a mum but there are so many down right shit things that just aren’t talked about when you first decide to make the leap to parenthood. Granted I’m sure most people don’t google ‘worst thing about having a child’ before they jump in the sack to procreate but seriously, tha fuck wasn’t I warned about sleep regression, food refusal, teething (fuck me teething, when does this end?!?!), thriving independence (you know, when they want to do everything themselves then throw a tantrum when you try to help them), the witching hour and leaps (yeah…wtf?). I know I’m not the first person to struggle with their precious little baby developing into a full-blown tantrum throwing demon toddler but really, couldn’t ya warn a sista?

So let’s start with my favourite..teething. And by favourite I mean least favourite. Chloe sprouted her first tooth at around 9 months. A little later than normal but she was teething since about 5 months. I was almost convinced that I just had the most miserable baby in existance, she was so sensitive and cried a lot for no obvious reason to the point I thought she might be broken and I should check the return policy (who am I kidding, she still does). I thank my luckiest of stars that it hardly affected her sleeping, only on the odd occasion she would wake in the middle of the night and needed resettling. Now at 10 and a half months she has 3 teeth and one that is about to pop through and she is a friggen nightmare most days and I’m blaming it on teething (naively praying she isn’t just destined to be a mongrel of a child forever). Who knew teething would turn your child psychotic for seemingly months on end. I know teething affects all baby’s differently and I know it must be extremely painful for the poor souls but fo’ real, can a mumma catch a break?!? One breaks through and I get a slightly more content child for a day or two then the next one starts to take hold of our lives. I could only imagine if she wasn’t sleeping too…bless you to all the mummas with screaming teething tots at all hours of the day and night, I salute you!

Leaps…yeah, I never even heard of it till it was mentioned on another mumma bloggers post, #amateur. There’s an app called Wonder Weeks and it shows you where your baby is developmentally and basically how much of an asshole he/she may be in the next few days/weeks/months etc (you know, on a scale from 1 to omg, someone take this kid before I throw it in the bin). It’s based on the average baby so I don’t rely wholly on it but it’s nice to have some kind of explanation as to why I feel like donating my infant to a church at times.

Food refusal. So I know this one may well be an issue for years to come but I’m really hoping it improves. I guess I hoped Chloe would inherit her dads appetite but no ma’am, she is a bit of a pain in this department. I’m ok with the mess on the floor and changing of clothes multiple times a day but it’s like come on kid, I convinced your father to let me buy a $2000 thermomix so making meals would be a breeze but of course I have a freezer full of lovingly prepared purées that you refuse to try. What a brat! But things have improved in the last month, due to that thriving independence previously mentioned I’ve nearly completely given up on spoon-feeding as it generally ends in a food fight (ie: Chloe throws a tanty when I don’t give her the spoon and knocks it from my hand in the midst of her fit). I now break up the finger foods into small bite size pieces for Queen Chloe as she will spit it out if it can’t be eaten in one bite but at least she’s eating. And then there’s constipation and trying to figure out what caused it and the anxious wait for that next lethal poo explosion or enduring days of little poop pellets and grouchy baby with a belly ache. And nappy rashes…jeezus just feeding them is like a never ending battle.

I’d definitely heard of the witching hour pre baby but I never thought it would be as painful, especially when the hubs is at work so it’s normally just me and the banshee baby. It’s that painful hour/s between 5pm and bedtime that children transform into feral howling baby trolls that form selective hearing, throw senseless tantrums and demand your undivided attention regardless of if you’re trying to cook a half decent dinner or duck off for a quick pee. Not having someone to handball the baby to so I can get a few minutes of peace in the evening is a bit shit, I’m generally a quivering mess after I’ve put Chloe to bed at night but this again is probably something that is only going to get worse as the troll gets older but if anyone finds a cure for it I’m tots keen for that remedy! For now I’ll settle with a glass (erhm..bottle) of red and/or some chocolate after Chloe is tucked in for the night.

But of course all the amazing things outweigh the difficult shitty frustrating things. Even though she drives me to tears the little rascal sure knows how to put a smile on my dial. She’s sure got an attitude and is turning out to be quite the little princess but I’d never change her, ok maybe less whining would be nice but who doesn’t like a challenge. We are currently in that frustrating phase between crawling and walking where she never, and I mean NEVER sits still, constantly climbs up on everything and falls quite a bit so we have plenty of tears but I love seeing her grow and learn. I honestly don’t think this parenting thing gets easier, I just think we find ways to make it through and deal with the day-to-day stresses of raising and keeping those little mini dictators alive and thriving.

Just your typical afternoon meltdown, still flipping adorble tho
A promise to myself

A promise to myself

I’m not sure if anyone else saw but Meghan Trainor was on Sunrise this morning. As soon as she starting singing the song ‘Me too’ it put me in a good mood. I started singing and shaking my hips while Chloe laughed at me from her walker as I cooked breakfast. The song stuck in my head all morning..”I thank god every day, that I woke up feeling this way…if I was you, I’d want to be me too – want to be me too…”. After Chloe went down for her nap I rushed in to have a nice warm shower, still humming the song in my head.

Then I got to the bathroom and the song stopped like a record screeching on a record player. As I stood there looking at my post-baby body naked in the fogging mirror I said in my head ‘Fuck that, who the fuck would want to be me. I’m fucking gross’. The good mood came crashing down and I stepped in the shower sobbing in disappointment and disgust.

I have never had a good self image, I have always had a negative relationship with food since I was young and I never considered myself attractive due to my negative thoughts about my body. I still remember the first boy that called me fat, it was in year 7 and I was absolutely crushed. It actually literally crushed me, as I was walking to the car after school an older boy on a bike hit me as I was too busy sulking with my head down to notice him riding toward me. Guess I’m lucky it wasn’t a car.

From that point on I made some really ridiculous and dangerous decisions about my body and this was when my relationship with food turned scary. I remember the stupid ‘rules’ I made in my head;

  • I wasn’t allowed to eat more than one other thing a day other than an apple
  • I wasn’t allowed to eat in front of boys
  • If I ate chocolate I have to throw it up immediately
  • If I ate anything other than fruit or yogurt I had to throw it up

And of course I had to go and pretend to be a vegetarian for a few years (I say pretend as I was the worlds worst vegetarian – I didn’t like vegetables. I pretty much lived on yogurt and dried fruit for 4 years). Now I don’t think anyone every really knew all this about me as I wasn’t a skinny teenager. I was slender-ish but I have always carried a lot of weight around my hips and bottom and I have pretty broad shoulders and smaller boobs so I’m just not very well proportioned. I also remember a girl in early high school told me I couldn’t be anorexic as I wasn’t thin and still ate food. That of course only made it worse. Gosh, teenagers can be assholes.

Then came puberty – periods, hair growth, smelly armpits and other erm..smelly areas, pimples and sex hormones. I had already put my body through so much and now all this was happening – FML! I would tell myself daily that I was fat and that if I didn’t stop eating and getting fatter that no boys would ever like me. All of my friends were skinny and gorgeous, I always considered myself the fat ugly friend. As my skinny pretty friends got boyfriends and attention from boys I felt completely undesirable. When the first boy ever showed interest in me I was stoked, thus started my first young love! He and his mother, who was a councilor, knew what I was putting myself through and tried to help me as much as they could. They gave me so much support and encouragement when I had nobody else to confide in – I was too ashamed and scared to tell my parents and thought anyone else would think I was being a dramatic teenage girl as I wasn’t sickly thin or physically ill. I appreciate their support so much and will never forget them trying to help me through that difficult part of my life.

But the negative mind frame continued through my teens and into my early 20’s. I stopped forcing myself to throw up and started trying diets. Oh the many many diets! I tried them all – cabbage soup, shakes, blood type, body-trim (this is the first one I did and it is a high protein diet so this is also when I started eating meat again), Michelle Bridges, skinny teas, Paleo (before any of you caveman wannabes pipe up I know Paleo isn’t a diet – its a ‘way of life’ – I worked full time so I didn’t have enough hours in a day to maintain that ‘way of life’) – you name it I probably tried some form of it. Then of course the pills and powders. I think the worst I ever tried was Hydroxycut but before it was legalised in Aus- when I took it it still had some kind of endorphin in it that made it feel like you were having a heart attack while just sitting down and breathing. Nothing ever worked, I was still carrying around an extra 10 or so kg that I just couldn’t budge. Now you know I’m not about lying – I probably didn’t commit to these diets as well as I could have. I’m the kind of person that needs to see results fast – I’m totally impatient and if I don’t see change within a week or so I kind of give up and half ass it. Setting myself up to fail – I know!

I was always active during the diets but never consistently enough. I started to go to the gym pretty consistently and started just eating as clean and nutritionally as I could not too long before I left Port Hedland and moved to Perth. After moving to Perth I joined a fitness group and kept eating well, I was focused on clean eating and keeping my body active. I still wouldn’t say I was skinny but I was fit and I felt the best I had ever felt. I was still battling bad self image demons but I was still being as healthy as I could be and was loving myself a little more each day. When we decided to try for a baby I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t happening straight away (impatient Sami again) so I went to the doctor to get blood work done just to make sure I was a-ok to make the babies. Many tests and scans later they told me I had Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I guess this explained why I was having trouble getting pregnant and also why I struggled to loose that extra weight around my middle. It was kind of a relief to get answers, to know why after all these years of doing the right thing, blaming my decisions and believing I was letting my body down. It was my body letting me down.

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Pre-baby body, oh how I miss you!

I started taking a pre-diabetic prescribed for PCOS to help me ovulate more regularly so I had a better chance of conceiving. I continued eating right and exercising regularly and although I wasn’t loosing the extra weight on the scale I was feeling strong and fit. I ran a 12km marathon which is something I never thought I would ever do and I made it a goal to try the half marathon. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I got pregnant so that hasn’t happened. 

Through blood tests early in my pregnancy they told me I also had a thyroid condition that may also contribute to my ability to loose weight and why it had taken so long to conceive. I said to myself that I would keep doing everything I was currently doing through out my pregnancy (within reason and nothing to hurt the baby of course) to keep healthy and try and maintain a healthy weight. To be completely honest I was absolutely terrified of putting on weight. But as my baby bump grew I just didn’t care about the number on the scale – I loved seeing my belly grow. I loved the thought of a little human growing inside me. I would deal with the extra weight later and just enjoyed seeing my tummy grow each day.

The last picture I have before I gave birth

I didn’t put on a huge amount of weight during my pregnancy, I think only 20kg at the most. But I definitely let myself relax a little more than I think I should have. I stopped going to the gym at about 6 months and to be honest I was struggling to get there more than twice a week leading up to that point as my job was insane and some days I wasn’t making it home till after 7pm so I just didn’t have the energy. I wasn’t eating as well as I should have (damn cheese burger craving). But surprisingly after I gave birth it only took about 2 months to fit back into my pre-baby jeans. Granted this is more likely due to the fact I wasn’t eating at all, I suffered (and still do) with PND so I wouldn’t eat as often as I needed to. 

But 8 months on and I’ve kind of gotten used to being a mother (not really, still winging it and lost AF most days) and have started eating again, but not eating the right things for my body and barely exercising at all and I’m probably 20kg above my pre-baby weight (I don’t like weighing myself so this conclusion is from how my body looks and feels and that I don’t fit into anything except work out pants and jeggings). The PND took its toll on my mental health, as it does, and I started punishing myself for thinking I was an inadequate mother by eating. It’s like my mind knew that with the struggle I’ve had with my weight it would be the ultimate punishment. 

I have let myself go and I’m extremely unhappy with my body. The most unhappy I’ve ever been. I’m disappointed and angry. I don’t care about the stretch marks or saggy boobs. I appreciate what my body has been through with growing and birthing a child, I’m amazed at what it did. But I have treated it the worst it’s been treated. And I need to take responsibility and stop making excuses. I need to learn to love my body (not again as I never did) and treat it like a temple.

So I make this promise to myself – I will treat my body like it deserves. I will nourish it with clean whole foods, I will move it more and I will learn to love every bit of it. No more using food as punishment or for trying to feel more complete. And I promise not to go back to starving myself of the nutrients I need. I will get back to a place where I’m proud of my strength and fitness and I will run that half marathon. I never want my daughter to fight the same body demons as I have over the last 15 years, I will teach her to love herself and treat her body with respect. And please, if you see me at the Maccas drive through don’t hesitate to shame me! God knows I have no self control when it comes to those iced lattes and damn gravy fries!



It’s not so bad

It’s not so bad

I’m sure everyone has heard the perils of being a FIFO family..missing out on events, missing important milestones of children, missing family, missing sleeping under your own roof…it can be pretty miserable for the worker and their family. But you rarely hear the positives. Admittedly the pros list is a bit shorter than the cons but it sometimes isn’t all that bad. I guess I’ve had time to learn to embrace it and there are good days and bad especially now that we have our beautifully exhausting daughter. I really don’t think the one working away from their family would have as many pros as below but these are just a few things that sometimes makes it bearable in my eyes.

Money: well that’s obvious and probably the reason the large majority of families make the decision to do FIFO. Granted the economy of late isn’t exactly booming as it once was so rates aren’t nearly as competitive as a few years ago and if you looked around you could probably find something local at a similar pay rate. But it can be hard to break away from the decent dosh you can bring in when working away. And yeah, cheers government for making the cost of living near impossible for families with 1 income to survive..nice job dickheads.

Off swing: yes this is the time of relaxation and recuperate for the worker but after a day or two catching up on sleep it’s on to uninterrupted time with the fam and friends (with the exception of both parents working and school aged kiddies). My sister made an interesting point in relation to this, her partner works overseas on a 4:4 roster. They have 3 children aged 7, 5 and 3. That is 6 months of the year, 24 hours a day 7 days a week he is able to be at home with the kids and my sister. Let’s look at a local worker who say works 9-5, has a 30 minute commute to and from work, works 6 days a week. So that’s 9 hours a day they are away from home at work for 6 days of the week. They might get a an hour in the morning to help with the kids before they head off through morning traffic to do a full day’s work. They get home maybe an hour before the bedtime rush starts, probably in the midst of witching hour so mum is stressed, children are feral and dinner, which good chances is beans on toast, is probably stone cold. Then Sunday comes round, the only day off so worker wants to spend some quality time with the fa..farcking cold stubby kicked back on the couch watching the footy. Deserved after a long work week. So all up the local worker gets 1 full day and possibly a couple of hectic hours each morning and/or evening with the fam a week so let’s just round it up to 2 full days a week. So roughly 3 months a year is spent at home with the family and half that time isn’t necessarily ‘quality’ family time. And that’s if your lucky enough to nab a 9-5 job, most now days are 10-12 hour days and with traffic as shocking as it is the commute will likely be over 30 minutes. Thanks sis for that logic, top stuff.

A bit of independence from the relationship: now this one may be a negative for some, I think it’s kind of a good thing at times. It’s sweet for someone like me who loves affection but not all the time and I don’t have to clean up after the child AND a man child all the time. I don’t want to seem heartless, I love my husband and I love spending time with him but lets be honest, us ladies love our ‘me-time’ (or broken me-time in between baby naps and housekeeping #mumlife) so it’s nice to get into some kind of routine and be in control to some degree (you know, the boss is generally the baby and that control freak loves to mess up the schedule with teething and what not). Distance is also known to make the heart grow fonder so the time spent together on off swing is that much more cherished. Plus, who doesn’t love having the entire bed to themselves without being woken by snoring or being savaged by a stray toenail several times a night.

Parenting differences: a delightfully small period of time to argue about parenting style differences. Fellow FIFO wives will know that as soon as d.a.d.d.y gets home shit hits the fan and the kids turn feral giving dad the impression that life without him is total chaos and that maybe he should be a stay-at-home dad to get things in order. Don’t worry mummas, your fellow motheren know that you have that ship as tight as a breastfeeding brassiere when dad is away (I cringed a few times at this expression when proof reading but eh, no fucks given). They are home just long enough for you to let them think life is near unbearable without them to give their ego a little boost then off to work they go and you can get everything back into that ‘somewhat of a routine’.

You can live on Easy Mac without judgement: I’ve never been much of a wiz in the kitchen so I got no complaints with not having to cook full meals each night of the week. Chloe is at an age where she really doesn’t consume a large quantity of food (the floor ends up with more than her) so she can happily nibble on my meal plus a couple of slices of mandarins or cheese and she’s pretty content. Of course I eat nutritional meals (for the most part) and I feed Chloe a good variety of foods that are nutritionally diverse for her. But I won’t lie, I frequently dish up Chloe some pre-steamed vege and chicken whilst I feast on 2 minute noodles with a bacon, egg, cheese and tomato omelette to top it off. Only having to meal plan for grownup meals once every few weeks is pretty convenient for this culinary challenged mumma.

As I said, the cons are a lot greater for the most part – my husband just missed our wedding anniversary for the 3rd year is a row and probably the most unfortunate of all he missed the birth of our daughter (she was a wee bit early). And it breaks my heart telling him that Chloe has just cut her first tooth or started crawling from the other end of the phone over 1000km away. Not to mention how hard it is parenting alone a lot of the time. But it’s a life we have chosen and although it won’t be forever we are thankful for our lives at present and we are making it work. The thing is, you do what ever you need to do to make things work and provide the best life possible for your children. One day Brett will be home with us every night and Chloe will never know all those nights we were alone, and I’m sure I will miss my independence and space I currently have. We all make sacrifices for the ones we love so it’s important to find the positives in your situation and embrace it. Look at me, being all positive and whatnot.

Fly in day chills with Daddy